Amazon Hopes Readers Will Pay Big for Kindle With Better Battery Life, Sleek Design

  • New Kindle costs $289, triple the cheapest current version
  • 9 Weeks of battery life, 20 percent lighter, one-hand hold

The Kindle Oasis.

Source: Amazon Inc. unveiled the Kindle Oasis -- the eighth generation of its popular e-reading device -- hoping book lovers will be willing to pay up in exchange for a sleek design and months of reading without charging the battery.

At $289, the device costs more than three times as much as the most affordable Kindle available today. The new model features a protective case that doubles as an extra battery, providing as much as nine weeks of reading without a new charge.

Amazon sees electronic readers as a key strategy to selling more books since digital volumes cost less and are easier to distribute than printed copies. Amazon began as an online book store and now sells 4.4 million electronic book titles, including 1.1 million added last year. It also sells $10-a-month subscriptions to Kindle Unlimited, which gives users access to more than 1 million e-book titles and thousands of audiobooks.

At 4.6 ounces (130 grams) and 3.4 millimeters (0.14 inch) at its thinnest point, the Kindle Oasis is 20 percent lighter and 30 percent thinner than earlier versions. The beveled design -- thicker along one side -- makes it feel even lighter because the center of gravity is closer to the readers’ hand.

The Kindle debuted in 2007 as Amazon’s first consumer gadget.

Amazon shares rose 1.6 percent to $613.02 at 2:43 p.m. in New York. They are down 11 percent this year through Tuesday.

(A previous version of this story corrected the length of battery life in the second paragraph.)

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